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Full text of "Alexander von Humboldt"

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390                               LIFE  OF
Ing all around. The reaction gained strength, and
some very lamentable individual events had given
a plausible colouring to their projects. The king even
declared that every time was not the right time to
make a change in the constitution of a state, and that
lie who had given the promise3 kept to himself the
right of appointing the period of its fulfilment. In
this close atmosphere the catastrophe of the murder of
ELetzebiie made matters still worse. The universities
were watched, suspicions and accusations arose on all
sides, and men such as Arndt, Jahn, Weleker, Reimer,
&c.y were treated as conspirators.
Public opinion expected much from Hmnboldt^s
appointment, for he was considered the cMef support
of liberal opinions in Prussia. The hopes of the
reformers and constitutionalists were all fixed on this
talented advocate, who had only lately in London had
the opportu&ity of {^tfaering: new experience on par-
liamentary institutions. 2STor did he deceive these
expectations as fax as lay in his power. Ideas of
liberty had early taken root in Ms miad^ and lie had
conceived the idea of individual liberty with almost too
little regard to the requirements of the real world,
and especially of the Prussian nation        the present
time.    We have seen that he wrote on the             of
fixing the extent   of influence of                         lie
a freedom   for                          for" which
men        seldom fitted.    The                               were
far from being able to              with the interference of
the state to such a degree. But although insight in
practical life soon taught Mm to adapt Ms views more
narrowly to the wants of the people^ he did not
therefore give up the principle. HJLS statesmanlike
talent showed itself in that he, when lie had to do
with the reality,, followed not only the "bent of Ms
own mind, but consulted also the "wants and wishes
of the majority of the educated men of Ms time and
of Ms people; thafc he? penetrated by the feeling that
there was something higher in the prevalent ideas of